Science for All

Using the Ketchup Cap in Engineering Professional Development

The story of Tyler Richards and Jonathan Thompson and their invention of a new ketchup bottle cap has gone viral in engineering education this spring. I wanted to share how I’ve been using this story in professional development with K-12 teachers.

PBS has a short blog post that is the perfect length for a quick reading. (See the post HERE.) The post provides the story of how these two students identified the problem (“wet bread is gross”)  and eventually solved it.

I like to use this story after teachers have some familiarity with the Engineering Design Process from the Next Generation Science Standards:

I simply ask participants to read the article and identify where the students are engaged in the 3 components of Engineering Design. Then we do a quick partner share and whole group debrief. Here are some findings that teachers have shared:

The blog post gives teachers an opportunity to identify components of Engineering Design and make sense of some of the shifts in the NGSS. I hope you find ways to use this engineering story with students and teachers. Please share back what you’ve tried. A video of the ketchup cap invention is embedded below.